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gregory

A Note from Dr. Ross Gregory

gregory

(October 2013)
When I retired in January 2005 I decided to focus my efforts on my family. Accordingly, I rejected two offers to do a book: one came from Richard Balkin, editor of the almanac series; his regular job was agent for authors around the New York City area; the second came from an editor with Facts on File, which doubtless would have been a reference work.

The academic work that I have done grew out of my mentor at Indiana, Robert H. Ferrell's efforts to get rid of his library of some 5,000 volumes. On the death of his wife, Ferrell had left Bloomington and moved to be near his daughter in Ann Arbor. What he had in mind was a "Book Bash," a week-end session with all his former students, all of whom had authored at least one book, would come to Ann Arbor, with Ferrell paying all the bills, would browse among his books; if a former student found a book they wanted, he or she would leave a mark, and they would receive what they had chosen-after Ferrell's death. Among the books that I chose was Mao Zedong's Little Red Book-in German. I was of course delighted to be able to go. He wanted to give his books to former students; but, as you have suspected, it was a situation ripe with rebellion: we decided to turn the situation into an "honor RHF gathering. I gave my spiel about my PHD oral.

My one published piece had its foundation in these circumstances. We-or they--decided to produce a volume with several of his students contributing a chapter. Some of you know, or if you have taken German you can translate that academicians call this type work a Festschrift, a book honoring some individual for some reason. The University of Missouri Press was anxious to publish it. My part was a chapter about Franklin D. Roosevelt's meeting with King ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia in 1944 aboard the cruiser, Quincy. Roosevelt wanted to discuss admitting more Jews into Palestine; ibn Saud wanted to discuss ways of keeping them out. The volume was published in2007. RHF was honored at a recent session of the Organization of American Historians. I did not attend the meeting, but on request I sent a letter retelling the story about my oral. The letter was read aloud at the session. The piece closed with the statement: "It is with supreme pleasure that I classify myself as one of Ferrell’s boys."

 

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